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Drug Trafficking in West Africa on the Rise

  • Akwei Thompson

A recent drug report by the UN Office on Drugs and Crimes says trafficking and use of cocaine and other drugs is on the rise in West Africa. The report says trafficking networks are using a broader range of so-called 'mules' to smuggle them into Europe.

On Friday, two British teenage girls were charged in Accra, Ghana for possessing and attempting to export drugs.

The report also says the continent saw a six-fold increase in seizures of cocaine between 2000 and 2005.

UNODC representative for the region, Antonio Mazzitelli says, “No country is immune from the drug trafficking attack. From Dakar, Senegal he underlined some of the reasons for this increase to VOA reporter Akwei Thompson.

“Cocaine is reaching Africa in very large quantities from producing areas in Latin America. It is then re-routed toward the new emerging markets in Europe but also toward South Africa, the Middle East, Russia and Asia. A part of the large consignment of cocaine does however remain in the region….”

Mazzitelli added that a so-called “spill-over effect” is one of the reasons for the increase in consumption of cocaine in the region: “the more you fill a glass with water, the more water will spill over and remain in the region or in the country.”

Asked about the socio-economic effects of the spill-over in West Africa, Mazzitelli said ‘…the youth in particular have not many opportunities for the future”. He cited the recent crisis with migrants as a clear indication of the little hope the youth have.

Mazzitelli said: “ the prosecution of especially big drug traffickers is a reason of major concern all over Africa.”

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